L.A. Church Community Mourns Passing Of Bishop Dr. Charles Queen
Bishop Charles Queen, who served for more than three decades as the pastor of Strait Way Church in Inglewood and founder of The Total Word Concept Institute, has died. He was 87. Queen passed away on Saturday, July 22, no official cause of death has been given.
“He was a Hebrew and a Greek scholar who I think was ahead of his time in terms of academic community,” Dr. Beverly “Bam” Crawford. “People may have thought that they are a little too legalistic because they had so much academic information but Dr. Queen opened our eyes to everything. He was very supportive of me when I left the staff of Crenshaw Christian Center and you’d be surprised how many people studied under Dr. Queen; he contributed to the church community at large.”
The philosophy of moderation Queen embraced and preached (irrespective of long-held traditional church practices) in a move toward mainstream ideology—and once drawing criticism from old guard Pentecostals—has come to be more widely accepted over the last decade.
"Years ago, the emphasis was primarily on holiness—the long dresses, long sleeves, no high-heeled or open toe shoes, no makeup and so forth," Queen stated in 2001 interview with L.A. Focus. "Those were the basis of things we yelled at people which some of them needed and it was okay because I grew up in that era. I got saved in 1955 when we were not allowed to look at television. We have move freedom now, but we still have people in that whole old school syndrome. What we have to do is to see if we can mesh the old and the new for greater commonality so that we aren't at one extreme over on one end and another extreme over here. We have to use moderation and I believe that's the key to success in our churches.”
"So I have always been one who would find that mainstream ideology,” Queen added. “Sometimes it had been difficult. “In the old times they'd say 'he's too liberal' or that I'd gone to extremes."
However, what drove Queen was the desire to reach a changing generation.
"People are becoming more educated and demanding more from the pulpit. They are asking questions from an intellectual point of view. You can't just say 'because the Bible says so' or 'I'm the pastor, just believe what I say'. We have to articulate to them in a intelligent manner so that not only does it agree with their emotions but it also agrees with their intellect and to be able to back it up Biblically."
The Vicksburg, Mississippi native was drafted in 1950 and spent a year in Korea during the Korean War. He moved to California in 1953 upon the urging of his family after an incident during which he defied three white men by refusing to step aside as they passed on the street.
In 1958, Queen went into ministry, following through on a promise he had made to God years earlier during the war.
“I prayed and told God if He'd get me out of this [alive] I would serve Him for the rest of my life."
Queen is survived by his wife of 38 years, Phyllis, 10 children, 26 grand children, and 28 great grand children. The funeral service for Queen will be on Saturday August 14, 2017.